Worland’s success story revolves around a determined gentleman who has shown an incredible amount of growth as he has developed into a successful small business owner. Roger Hankinson’s story begins in the spring of 2009 when he became a client of Vocational Rehabilitation. Roger had previously injured his back working in the oil field  and he came to DVR looking for assistance with obtaining employment in a less physically demanding environment. Roger expressed interest in owning a vending business and the previous VR counselor, Will Tempany, immediately began collaborating with Inge Huband, from the Business Enterprise Program, and Allie Curtis, the previous Vending Program Manager, to help make Roger’s dreams come to fruition.

            Through the combined efforts of these hardworking individuals Roger was able to develop a business plan and establish his own vending business, Rising Star Vending. In May of 2009, Roger began pursuing a vending contract to have a machine placed at the Wyoming Department of Transportation site in Thermopolis. With assistance from his mother Fran and Mr. Tempany, Roger submitted a bid application and he was awarded a contract for placement of a snack and soda machine at that site. Roger was able to purchase both the snack and soda machine through monies made available through his approved business plan with the Business Enterprise Program.

            After getting both his snack and soda machines up and running at the WDOT site, Roger began to face some of the challenges that many new business owners face. For instance, because Roger was new to the industry, he had to learn how to program prices into each machine, how to rotate stock, and how to maintain his machines. Learning all these skills was a daunting task but Roger did not let his learning disabilities and newness to the industry get in his way. To help with his disabilities, Roger began using dictation software to keep track of his inventory and his mother transcribed his dictation to assist him with keeping his counts in order. Another challenge Roger faced throughout the fall of 2009 was dealing with malfunctioning machines. Roger persevered through this time and as a result he learned how to diagnose and repair a number of issues with his machines.

            By January of 2010 Roger felt confident he was ready to expand his business. He met with the Director of Wellness at Gottsche Rehabilitation, in Thermopolis, and made arrangements for a snack and drink machine to be placed in their Wellness Center. Roger again worked with the Business Enterprise Program and through their support was able to purchase a snack and drink machine. Roger then began saving the money he earned from each of his machines and by the spring of 2010 he began looking for future vending sites. He met with several local businesses and organizations in the Worland area and carefully researched if these potential sites would be ideal locations. In the summer of 2010 Roger and I met with Lynne Iversen, the current Vending Program Manager, to begin discussing the 2011 state vending bids. Lynne provided us with the information and guidance we needed to begin working on Roger’s bid packet. Roger and I spent the fall and winter of 2010-2011 developing and refining his bid proposal. During this process we received very helpful feedback from both Lynne and Inge regarding suggestions they had to improve his bid.

            In the spring of 2011 Roger decided to bid for the snack and soda machine located at the Basin Retirement Home and in May he received the good news that he had been awarded the contract to have a snack machine placed at the site. With the help of the money he saved from income from his other machines, Roger was able to purchase a snack machine for this site on his own and he successfully had it up and running in July. Roger is now proudly operating vending machines at three different sites. Roger is to be congratulated for his success, due for the most part, to his determination, hard work, and effort. Recognition and thanks must also go to Mr. Tempany, Ms. Curtis, Ms. Iversen, and Ms. Huband for the guidance, support, and assistance they provided to Roger as he worked to establish his vending business, thus making his dream a reality. 

Kevin Johnson

KEVIN JOHNSON is the kind of client every VR Counselor dreams of working with when he/she walks through the door.   Kevin worked as an electrician and brought a lot of organizational and management skills with him. Because of connective tissue disorder and a right knee injury, Kevin found he was not able to work in the field any longer. He decided to start a business with alternative energy. Kevin began working with Business Enterprise Consultant, Inge Huband, to develop a Business Plan for Snowy Range Renewable Energy.  

Kevin took classes on renewable energy and learned how to do home inspections. He did this with serious perspective customers once a week. As he completed the home inspections, he would write a detailed report for the home owner and the result would be a project for Kevin to complete.   

One of his prospects hired him to install a solar thermal heat in a big shop and to also design and help install the systems. He did work on a wind turbine in Medicine Bow and designed a wind/solar hybrid pumping station for some stock watering. He also said he would hire local contractors to do the work requiring equipment and man power and he negotiated an agreement with Satellite Systems and Solutions in Douglas.

Kevin went to Denver for a week of review and testing. He passed two written exams and the field exams as well. This gave him the BPI Auditor and Envelope Professional

Certifications he needed. His instructor in Torrington at EWC, talked him into taking one more semester of the Weatherization program and he ended up helping him teach the wind and solar part of the course. Kevin also attended EWC community seminars with the instructor and got some good exposure for Snowy Range.

Kevin was excited because he began doing house testing/inspections with John Ely from Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington. They did two in Douglas and two in Laramie.     They used the equipment supplied by the college. One of the items is a blower door which fits into the frame of the home and then it blows out all of the air and is able to then determine how much is lost to draft spaces etc. From there, they were able to determine where the heat is lost and how to remedy it. They also checked for radon.     Kevin said the first home took about seven hours, but he got it down to about three hours per home. After the men do the testing/inspections, a Data Collection Form is given to the homeowner and they can get a contractor to fix anything that needs repair of adjustments. There is a lot of information then available to the homeowner.

Kevin spoke with four companies that manufacture windmills. Three of the companies were from the U.S. and the fourth was from China. He arranged for three (two U.S. and one from China) to provide some other type of equipment or service. He has also been in touch with an Inverter Manufacturer that is developing an interface to connect the windmills to the utility grid, such as Rocky Mountain Power. Kevin worked steadily on his education, business plan, and business needs. He paid to have his website built.  His website will be snowyrangerenewableenergy.com.

 He went into Wyoming Entrepreneurs at Fedbiz.gov and created a vendor number. He said there is a NAISCHS Code for every project he can do and then it comes up when a consumer is looking for someone to do a certain job. Apparently, the site highlights what can be done with the codes and then the person puts in the state and the consumer can see the projects that have been done. Kevin has also signed up for the U.S. Green Building Counsel for his business. He went to Lander with Univ. of Wyoming Professors for the Green Building Counsel. He has also joined the U.S Chamber of Commerce.  

Kevin also explained a job he is going to do in Torrington, WY. On the City Shop, there is a Solar Air Wall which is 85'x10'x5'. There are 4x8 windows heating a solar absorber which is copper and then it reflects back to the glass. He will be tying the fans to the Heating and Air Conditioning ducts. He said the air wall has been there for 25 years and never been maintained, so the town is going to pay him to maintain the system as well.

One exciting innovation Kevin has also come up with is a method to heat stock tanks with solar power. A woman in Manville, WY, is going to have him set up two initially and then if it works, she has a large ranch she will eventually do, as well. He also has two projects in Laramie.

Kevin is very excited about his business and the potential. He is staying very busy.  

Kevin was very thankful for the help he received from VR and the Business Enterprise Program. He was so motivated and active in his plan and follow-through. Kevin = Success!! 

David's Story

From David’s first appointment with Vocational Rehabilitation, he has been upbeat, friendly, and expressed the desire to help others.  Anyone hearing David’s story of being injured by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) would think he is the one who needs the help.  However, David is grateful for the VA benefits he has received and wants to “give back”.

            David’s dream has been to operate his own tattoo and piercing parlor, and he participated in an internship prior to coming to DVR.  Self-employment was determined to be the best option for David in regard to employment due to his physical injuries and resulting pain as well as his acquired brain injury (ABI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  David was injured on September 5, 2007 and is still experiencing daily pain.  He continues treatment and is scheduled for surgery on his back in October 2011. 

            DVR’s Small Business Consultant Inge Huband met with David in Torrington on November 22, 2010.  David had already located a building and was working with the owner on the remodeling.  He also had started on the business plan that VR had e-mailed to him.  The first of February 2011 David’s business was being questioned by the City Council primarily because his plan was to have an arcade in the front of his business so the youth (18 and over) would have a place to ‘hang out’.  In March the City Council approved the tattoo parlor but not the arcade. 

            Vocational Rehabilitation provided David with vocational counseling and guidance, assessment, equipment, supplies, and tools, including some items purchased through State Surplus.  David contributed several thousand dollars of his own toward his business, as did his landlord.  One concern David has expressed continuously is that of sanitation and safety.  David is very conscientious in this regard and has stated he will not work with employees who do not follow his policies and guidelines.  This is very apparent when visiting his business.

            The Chamber of Commerce provided David with a ribbon cutting in May, and David was then open for business.  Four months later David’s business is still exceeding his expectations to the extent that David paid for some of the expenses himself that VR had intended to cover.  David wanted the money to be available to someone else.  Self Xpression’s has expanded to include some clothing with the goal of eventually having their own line as well as possibly another parlor.  David’s customers are not only local but they also travel from Cheyenne, Casper, Scottsbluff, and other locations.  The number of returning customers speaks for itself in regard to the quality of the work and service David and his employee provide.  David has agreed to be the site for an internship for another VR client later this year, and he is in the process of purchasing the building. 

            David has certainly educated his VR Counselor and Inge about the tattoo and piercing business!  We both enjoyed working with David and wish him continued success.  As a Veteran who served and was injured in Iraq, we also want to express our gratitude to David for serving our coun.​

Anonymous Testimonial

Thank you for this opportunity to finish my college degree. I have been able to apply what I have learned to the children in my care. For a couple of children this has been monumental to their learning. They are borderline ADHD and we have been able to accommodate them without other interventions.

Anonymous Testimonial

WY Quality Counts! helped me financially to take this class and the class was excellent!

Ashley Cooper

I can not really express how thankful I am to have been able to utilize the ETSS Grant. It was such a blessing and a weight off of our shoulders to know that there was help out there for us. I wish I would have known about the program my first year of Hygiene school, looking back I do not know how we made it! It was a stressful time. Thankfully my stress level was decreased by ten fold with having this grant my last year of schooling. I am so grateful. There is a great staff behind this grant as well. Everyone was very helpful and willing to take time, talk, and help me out in every aspect imaginable in my academic and professional career. Thank you so much for all of your help and support!

Project Safe

Paula at Project Safe called me on 8/8/08 about a woman who was in their shelter. She had no place to live, no car, no family, and no job and suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome. Paula said "Nancy*" likes farm work. She said she would send Nancy to my office.

I called Doug DeRouchey at Wyoming Premium Farms, explained the situation, and asked him if he could arrange for housing and a job for Nancy since he has the alien farm worker housing available. Doug was open to the idea. When Nancy arrived at my office we talked for a while about her situation, disappointments she has encountered in dealing with DFS, and what she would like to do. Nancy has no contact with family, and wants none, due to the fact that she wants to make sure her ex-husband doesn't find her. She had a son, who died a few years ago. I told her about the possible opportunity for employment and housing at the pig farm. She was very appreciative and enthusiastic about the idea. She filled out a WPF application which I faxed to Doug. I asked Nancy to come back to the office the next morning.

Doug was out of the office Wednesday morning so we made an appointment to meet with him that afternoon. Nancy asked that I accompany her to meet with Doug, which I did. After talking with Nancy, Doug hired her and asked if she could stay at the safe house for another week until he had his housing available and ready. He arranged for a car pool to pick her up every morning at 6:15. Nancy agreed and asked if she could start the next day.

Nancy was very happy and excited to be able to work with the baby pigs. She loves animals and feels that interacting with them will be therapeutic for her right now. Nancy is already planning to work as much as possible so that she can save money for a car and a place of her own. She said she would be happy if Doug worked her 24/7. There is currently a good possibility for overtime because the alien workers are leaving and the new group won't arrive for a few weeks.

I believe that this will be an excellent arrangement and we are very lucky that Doug DeRouchey was agreeable to working with us. Doug has been a great partner with the Workforce Center. Last year I arranged for him to work with Probation and Parole and he has since hired two of their clients. I called Wyoming Premium Farms this morning and Billie said everything is going fine with Nancy today and that she will let me know if anything changes.

* Name changed to protect identity.

Paul Smith

Paul Smith (an alias) moved to Cheyenne from the western slope of Colorado. He had a wife and a two-year-old child to support, and he had been unable to find suitable employment.

Smith's work history didn't show much stability because he had traveled around the country and worked in various states. He worked for awhile as an apprentice electrician. However, he found that he did not have strong enough math skills or aptitude for that position. He had also worked in various seasonal laboring positions. Smith's main goal, when he came to the Cheyenne Workforce Center, was to find employment that would enable him to make a good wage and provide some stability for his family. He didn't want to continue moving around from state to state looking for employment. He also wanted to be able to get off state-assisted food stamps. He explored many job opportunities, but was unsuccessful because of his lack of skills. For a family of three the self sufficient wage based on 185% of the federal poverty guidelines is $15,355 for six months. In the last six months, Smith had only earned $6,500 and his wife was a stay-at-home mother. That put him and his family way below the recommended amount for a family of three.

Smith began to research training options. After exploring all of his options, Smith decided that getting a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) would make him marketable to many businesses. Truck driving is considered a demand occupation for this area because of the numerous openings available. The fact that Cheyenne sits at the crossroads of two major interstate highways (I-25 and I-80) is a huge plus to the trucking industry and those seeking trucking as an occupation.

Smith inquired about training for the CDL license at Sage Technical Services. He was referred to the Cheyenne Workforce Center for assistance and, after extensive assessments, his career advisor, Jan Eatmon, presented his case to the WIA committee where he was approved for training. During his training he excelled and earned a 95.04 grade point average. He received his CDL in record time and was employed within a few days after receiving his license.

Smith was hired by a major carrier in October 2005 and began his training. His starting wage during that period was $350 a week. After a few weeks of in-house training, Smith was put with another driver and received additional training. During that phase he earned $425 a week. Upon completion of his training, Smith got his own truck and began to drive alone. He stayed with this employer for approximately six months. He recently accepted work for another major truck line and is now earning approximately $1,000 per week. He is thrilled with that wage, which puts him and his family way above the federal poverty guideline of $15,355 for six months! He now is earning approximately $24,000 every six months.

Smith has been driving since October, 2005 and continues to be a huge success for himself and his family, the workforce center and the WIA program. His wife and daughter remain in Cheyenne while Smith is driving, and they are no longer dependent on any state assistance. Smith stays in contact with the workforce center staff and always shares his appreciation for all that the staff did to make his dream a reality.

Jerri Eversull

Jerri Eversull came to the Cheyenne Workforce Center as a dislocated worker seeking job skills training and re-employment services. She had worked at Trilegiant Corporation for just over 12 years and was a customer service representative when the business closed down and left the Cheyenne area.

Eversull and her fellow Trilegiant employees had been informed of the WIA program through Rapid Response, although she never personally took advantage of available services at that time. By the time she came back to the workforce center for help, she was 56years old, had been unemployed for a year and had exhausted her unemployment insurance. Eversull's longevity with Trilegiant was working against her in that all of her employment-skills development was specific to her former employer. Being an older worker with limited computer skills, and competing against nearly 300 of her former co-workers - in addition to other individuals in the community - Eversull was not finding success in the local labor market.

Eversull completed the Choices Interest and Workplace Importance Locator Assessments, offered through the workforce center, and expressed an interest in employment as an administrative assistant. With the assistance of her career advisor, Judy Carroll, she also completed a Job Research Worksheet for this occupational goal and was referred to the Adult Career and Education System (ACES) program at Laramie County Community College (LCCC). At ACES, a formal assessment of Eversull's computer skills was conducted and a list of suggested courses was developed that, with completion, would make her marketable in the local labor market. Eversull was presented before the workforce center's WIA committee, which approved the plan for her to receive intensive services that included her attending computer software training through the ACES IC3 program at LCCC.

The IC3 program helps students acquire computer skills in using the Internet, e-mail and various other office tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and Power Point. This program is particularly good for older workers and single parents because the course work is self-paced and is open entry - open exit. Also, students may take up to one year to complete their training. This is a less intimidating environment than a regular class room and the students are competing against their own skill level. Their success is individual success. The program is open days, evenings and some weekends so the students have the opportunity to go in and complete assignments. Students do not achieve college credit for these courses, but do receive certification of completion and a lot of support from the program team. LCCC has successfully marketed their IC3 program to the community and participants in this training find success in the local labor market. Most of the workforce center's participants hired even before completing their respective programs!

Eversull completed her ACES training in approximately eight months. As a result of her training, she has found full-time employment as a Customer Service Representative with Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power (Black Hills Corporation). Employment at Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power is competitive and highly sought after. Eversull began her employment on November 1, 2005 with a salary of $12.77 per hour plus benefits, which was greater than her ending salary after 12 years employment with Trilegiant. She received a pay raise in May 2006 to $14.38, and has recently received a cost of living raise of 3.7%.

With WIA assistance and skills training through the ACES program, at LCCC, Eversull went from a despaired, long-term unemployed, under-skilled individual, to being successfully employed in a highly sought after position, with a company with a reputation of being difficult to gain entry. She is making an excellent income for the local labor market and has the opportunity for continued success.

Jeremy Hansen

Jeremy Hansen is a young man that came to the Cheyenne Workforce Center seeking assistance to attend the radiology program at Laramie County Community College (LCCC). He had been accepted into the program and was referred by LCCC for possible WIA assistance to help him attain his goal. He was working at that time as a pizza delivery person and trying to support a family of four. His wife does not work out side the home. They have two children, ages two and five months. Hansen wanted to gain good employment so he could support his family on his own and allow his wife to be home with their children.

In his pizza delivery job, he was earning approximately $7,200 every six months; way below the self sufficient wage based on 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. A family of four should be earning at least $18,500 for six months. Prior to coming to the workforce center, Hansen had also worked as a seasonal laborer. Because of his lack of skills, it was likely that he would continue to be underemployed and never would be able to support his family at a decent livable wage. Hansen's lack of income also made it necessary for his family to rely on food stamps each month.

When Hansen came to the workforce center, he had already completed all of his prerequisites required for the radiology program and, during that time, had maintained a grade point average (GPA) of 3.9. His career advisor, Jan Eatmon, assessed his needs and determined that it would be difficult for him to complete the program based on his level of income. Sufficient justification for training was given to the WIA committee and Hansen was approved for training. During his two years of training, he received almost all A's. His final cumulative GPA was 3.96 and he was consistently on the President's Honor Roll. All of his instructors and fellow students spoke highly of him. Hansen did all of that while continuing to work to support his family. He was very committed to his goal: to successfully complete his program, and have a career he enjoyed and that paid him a good salary.

Since completing the program, Hansen obtained employment at Rocky Mountain Orthopedic Specialists in Cheyenne, as a radiology technician. He is now earning approximately $14,448 every six months, and has potential for advancement. This wage brings him much closer to the self-sufficient wage that is recommended for a family of four. He loves the work he is doing and knows that he now has a career he can count on to support his family. Hansen intends to stay in Wyoming to raise his family.

Hansen is very thankful for all the help his career advisor and other workforce center staff were able to give him. He feels without this help he probably wouldn't have been able to complete school and be the success he is today. The staff are glad they were able to help Hansen realize his goals.

Jenny Ash

Jenny Ash is 33 years old and married with four children. She and her husband were having a hard time making ends meet. Her employment history reflected 10 years work experience as a child care provider, a position with low wages and no opportunity for advancement. Her wage as a child care provider was only $6.20 per hour. Ash's husband was a seasonal construction worker, earning $8.00 - $10.00 per hour, who had just started his own business as a tile setter. As a new business owner, Ash's husband's income was low. It would take time to build a customer base and make his small business a success. In these circumstances the family's combined six month income was $12,544 - way below the $24,790 recommended for a self-sufficient wage in Wyoming, at 185% of the federal poverty guideline. Also the family had to rely on public assistance each month.

Ash needed to find employment that would help her husband support their four children. She decided to pursue a career as a registered nurse. There is a shortage of registered nurses, not only in the local labor market, but nationwide, which makes this occupation in high demand. As a nurse, she would be able to make a good wage and help her family exceed the poverty guideline.

Ash came to the Cheyenne Workforce Center seeking WIA assistance to pay for tuition, books, and related expenses at Laramie County Community College (LCCC). Jenny had already completed all prerequisite course work, on her own, at a pace she could afford. Also, she had applied for and was among the few students at LCCC to be accepted into their nursing program. However, she did not have sufficient financial resources to enable her to complete the program without some assistance. At the workforce center, Ash's career advisor, Judy Carroll, determined that WIA assistance could help her realize her goals.

Justification for both WIA intensive and training services was complete and Ash was approved for training. With WIA assistance, she was able to attend nursing classes at LCCC with less financial difficulty and worry. Ash worked hard during her two years of nursing school and maintained a B average, while juggling the demands of a mother and wife and continuing to work part-time. The LCCC nursing program is a difficult program and many students, good students, dropped out due to the demands and difficulty of the program. However, Ash prevailed and graduated from the nursing program with a solid B average. Her husband and children attended her pinning ceremony for graduation because her success truly was a family effort. Everyone made sacrifices in order for her to graduate. Ash passed her RN board examinations in June 2006.

Following graduation, Ash was hired as an RN at the United Medical Center West in Cheyenne, and is now earning $22.40 per hour working full-time. Ash is earning $23,116 every six months not counting shift differential. With her wage alone, this enables her family almost to meet self-sufficiency guideline of $24,790. Ash is due for a wage increase in six months and she received a $5,000 sign on bonus from the hospital.

With the assistance of the WIA program and education/skills training through the LCCC nursing program, Ash went from a child care provider earning $6.20 per hour to being successfully employed as an RN in a high demand occupation with an open future and opportunity for continued wage increases. She is making an excellent income for the local labor market, with the opportunity for continued success. Ash is appreciative of all the assistance the WIA program gave her and she is a true success story.

Aynna Boyle

In June of 2005, Aynna Boyle was an 18-year-old recent graduate from high school, with a one-year-old daughter, few job skills and limited work experience. In order to make ends meet, she accepted food stamps as well as assistance to cover her housing and medical needs. However, Boyle was not content to continue that course. She wanted to work, but not just at any available job. She hoped to develop a career that would give her opportunities to grow and meet the monetary needs of her family too.

Boyle was interested in becoming a case worker for the Wyoming Department of Family Services, but couldn't afford to go to school at that time. So she was referred to the local workforce center by a counselor at the high school. Her career advisor at the workforce center, Laura Burnett, was able to help. Burnett coordinated with the Department of Family Services to create a WIA work experience opportunity for Boyle as a receptionist at the department so she could get the feel of the environment and see if it was truly an atmosphere in which she wanted to work. Also, WIA funding was used to provide suitable work attire for Boyle, and to cover some of her family needs.

Boyle worked 400 hours, making $7.09 per hour, to complete her work experience. She did such a great job that the department hired her immediately thereafter, at $7.50 per hour with benefits. Since then, Boyle has been promoted to the position of administrative specialist, received two pay raises and is gaining more independence. She was able to purchase a home and no longer needs to rely on public assistance, except for child care assistance. In addition, she is well on her way in pursuing the career she desires. Boyle frequently thanks Burnett for the opportunities that WIA gave to her.

Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Training Program

Beginning in February 2006, the Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Training Program is a great example of partnering between state government, private industry and other state and local organizations. The primary partners are the Department of Workforce Services, state workforce agencies in other states and the Wyoming Contractors Association. The Department's workforce centers, and counterpart agencies in other states, refer workers to the Wyoming Contractor's Association, which prepares them to go to work for oil and gas companies in Wyoming. Also, Wyoming workforce centers, particularly in Casper, have utilized some WIA monies, as well as partnerships with other organizations, to provide support to the trainees, most of whom have come from outside Wyoming to attend. Direct training costs are paid by a grant from the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

The benefits of this partnership are worth mentioning such as the program's ability to helped Wyoming businesses fulfill their employment needs. The training has been helpful to Wyoming oil and gas companies. This industry has experienced an acute labor shortage, especially in recent months, as Wyoming's economy has become more robust. Positions for which individuals are being trained are floor hand, heavy equipment operator and truck driver. The demand for labor in these positions has been so great that training participants are virtually assured of employment immediately upon graduation from their respective programs. During Program Year 2005, a total of 218 floor hands, 15 heavy equipment operators and 21 truck drivers completed the coursework. Thus far, all of the graduates have been placed in training-related employment.

The cost-benefit ratio of the training is good too. The cost for floor hand training is $1,400, while the heavy equipment and truck driver courses each cost $2,500. Floor hands are able to start work at an average beginning wage of $24.70 per hour, while heavy equipment operators and truck drivers start at between $14 and $18 per hour. Related to this is the efficient way in which WIA resources are being used to help the workers complete training. Inasmuch as a minimal amount of support funding is all that is needed by some participants, it is anticipated this program will help reduce Wyoming's overall WIA participant costs.

Another benefit of participating in one of these training programs is that enrolled individuals complete the training so quickly, which certainly meets industry needs. Participants can begin earning a paycheck right away, and the Department and the Wyoming Contractors Association are able to prepare a greater number of people for jobs in a short amount of time. The floor hand training only lasts one week, and the other two components are completed in two weeks, instead of the protracted time periods that are sometimes required in other such courses.

Although the training is particularly geared toward oil and gas work, individuals who complete the heavy equipment or truck driver training are also qualified to work in jobs in other segments of the mining industry, and even outside of the industry, should they desire to do so. For example, truck drivers are taught how to work in off-road environments that are typical of the oilfield. In addition, they are also prepared to apply for a Class-A Commercial Drivers License (CDL), which is needed for various other over-the-road jobs, as well as this industry. This versatility is a definite plus in today's job market.

Rufus Henson

Rufus Henson was unemployed at the end of the 2005 summer season. He was seasonally working for the City of Rawlins as a laborer after a down turn in the Alaskan fishing industry where he worked as a deck boss and a skipper from 1991 to 2005. After he lost his position in the fishing industry, he became interested in obtaining a CDL-A and finding local, long term work with benefits.

The Rawlins Workforce Center had written truck driver job orders for J.H. Kaspar Oil, Inc., a local fuel provider company, and had talked with the company about the services provided by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. The Rawlins Workforce Center guided Henson to apply at J.H. Kaspar Oil, Inc. and to obtain pre-approval status for employment after he attended Sage Technical Services. He did apply, interview and receive the pre-approval status from J.H. Kaspar Oil, Inc. Henson was then accepted at Sage Technical Services for the CDL-A training where he successfully complete the training.

Henson started his extended truck driver training with J.H. Kaspar Oil, Inc. through an on-the-job training agreement in March 2006. He successfully completed the training and received two raises from him employer. J.H. Kaspar Oil, Inc. appreciates Henson's work and his success with the customers.

Rebecca Stansell

Rebecca Stansell was fortunate to have survived Hurricane Katrina. She and her husband, Greg, fled to Wyoming due to the State's low unemployment rate and clean environment. They lost everything in the storm except for the car they road out on. To make matters worse, her sister passed away two days after Katrina hit. When they reached Casper, the hotel they were staying at got them in touch with the Highland Park Church.

Highland Park Church was kind enough to pay for lodging until Rebecca and her husband found employment. The Church referred Rebecca and her husband to the Casper Workforce Center to assist them in finding employment. After meeting with Rebecca, assessing her situation and skills, the case manager called a local company, Defense Technology, explaining Rebecca's situation to them and her skills in manufacturing. Rebecca interviewed the following day and was offered a job as a production assembly worker.

However, employment did not help their homeless situation and the loss of their belongings. The Casper Workforce Center teamed up with one of their local partners, Interfaith, to assist with support services which would enable Rebecca and her husband to get back on their feet quickly. Interfaith paid Rebecca's deposit while the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services assisted with her first two months of rent.

Rebecca and her husband were able to work, and instead of focusing their efforts on rent, they were able to purchase items necessary for daily living. Today, Rebecca is still employed with the same company and their homestead is more accommodating. "If it was not for Theresa at the Casper Workforce Center," Rebecca said, "I would not know where I would be today!" She wishes to thank everyone who made their life easier. After being through the worst time of her life, she never knew life could still be so good.​